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Isabela celebrates scarecrow fest

PROTECTOR’ Among the highlights of the recent Bambanti Festival in Isabela province is the giant “bambanti” (left), Ilocano for scarecrow, at an exhibit in City of Ilagan. —PHOTOS BY VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela, Philippines — Giant scarecrows and historical figures took center stage during the Bambanti Festival here, delighting about 80,000 tourists and villagers who were also treated to a weeklong merrymaking.

“Bambanti,” the Ilocano term for scarecrow, is an enduring symbol of Isabela province’s resiliency and is considered by locals as “a protector” of farms as it drives away scavenger birds and pests.

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HighlightsFarmers here said the festival was also an occasion to celebrate their abundant harvest since the province remains one of the country’s top rice and corn producers.

Records from the Department of Agriculture show that Isabela produces about 1 million metric tons of rice and corn annually.

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Isabela Gov. Rodolfo Albano III and other officials led the festival, which began on Jan. 25 and ended on Jan. 31.

Among the festival highlights were street dancing, concerts, fireworks display, exhi¬bits and cooking competitions.

Vice Gov. Faustino Dy III said Bambanti is the province’s “mother of all festivals” because it pays tribute to the townsfolk’s way of living, history and heritage.

The festivity also featured indigenous products and local cuisines.

Last year, the province set a new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as scarecrows. Over the years, the festival has received several accolades that include the Aliw Awards Hall of Fame for best festival practices and performances.

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TAGS: Bambanti Festival, Isabela scarecrow festival
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